Samsung’s XCover Pro Brings Back The Removable Battery

Samsung’s new mid-range Galaxy XCover Pro has one interesting feature we haven’t seen in a smartphone for a while: a removable battery.

On first look, the Xcover appears to be a region-specific phone that’s based around ruggedness and practicality – with a display that works when wet (or with gloves) and can survive a 1.5-meter fall. It sounds similar to CAT’s tough workman’s phones, which might be a new market Samsung is testing.

But, by a long distance, the removable battery piques my interest the most. Samsung’s decision to switch to a more Apple-like design in 2015 with the Galaxy S6 left a lot of long-time fans annoyed by the sudden change of direction. The new sleeker phones didn’t last as long when it came to battery life, and they had a shorter shelf life because lithium-ion batteries can only hold a finite amount of charges.

This new XCover puts Samsung back on familiar ground. It may be a one-off, or even a feature just for this range, but Samsung would do well to consider bringing back removable batteries for other mid-range devices.

There’s a new battleground in mid-range phones that have seen a dramatic leap in quality in the last year or two. Samsung’s new S10 Lite is the perfect example of that, alongside Google’s excellent Pixel 3A. As consumer priorities coalesce around price, camera and battery life, I can see a clear argument for reinstating removable batteries.

Considering the fact that a breakthrough in battery technology is still a way off, simply giving people the ability to swap in pre-charged batteries is a feature that should’ve never disappeared as quickly as it did. I understand that the quirky, brightly coloured, removable plastic rear panels on older smartphones had to be consigned to the historical dustbin. But the need to switch-out batteries never went. Aesthetics overruled practicality and we were all worse off for it.

If Samsung is diving head-first into high-quality mid-range phones that focus on big batteries, good cameras and affordable prices then it should experiment further with bringing back this bygone feature.

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